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Poetry

The sea prophet
Four poems by Leila Farjami and Mana Aghaee



July 12, 2006
iranian.com

Poets Leila Farjami and Mana Aghaee have launched their collaborative representation of contemporary Persian poetry in English. Toomar.com comprises poetry by the two aformentioned poets in addition to translations of other Iranian poets' poems. below are four samples. Farjami will be reading poetry at Alta (506 31st St, Newport Beach, CA 92663, phone: 949-675-0233) Wednesday night, July 12th at 8:00pm.

*** *** ***

The Sea Prophet
Leila Farjami

There was no distance from the shore

where I could see all the sea shells,

all the sand grains jammed in the mouths of dead fish,

all the people sitting in the sun,

all the winds blowing from East to West

flailing the small carousels of a Caspian noon.

I could have drowned

without any one ever knowing,

I could have been like the man

who has slept inside me for years

searching through the waters for a mirror

that still retains the reflection

of white birds dragging their shadows

along a ragged sky.

I could have been like the man

who has slept inside me for years

waking up in a storm

and not ever finding a way to dry land. 

*** *** ***

Divorce
Mana Aghaee

Having read the palms of all the fortune-telling

today’s ration is the bitterest of cups

while my heart trembles like a carton of milk

when the coffee spills over from all the pages

onto the divorce decree.

I told my sister

the prince is in the fairy tales.

Today, being in love requires assets,

free time, and focuswhich I lack.

My patience is low,

my concerns high,

I don’t care if all aspirations are decapitated!

Here, there is the electricity outage again,

car tires are flat,

young horses have lost track in the heavy snow of roads,

as I declare again

it has been a long time since

all this has gone over my head.

This sky is excessively high,

the place for a stool is missing beneath our feet.

Since the first I do I heard

to the last the no which I learned to say aloud,

I don’t know how many times I have been battered,

but I do know one thing:

Regardless of what wedding tablecloth* I sit by

my final response is always the same.

I have asked my mother whatever she does

not to bring a handkerchief

because we have cried enough,

and I claim this uninhibitedly.

It’s only in the old picture albums where we laugh,

a place where they drape our heads with white lace,

thrust sweets in our mouths,

and write in large letters on the cakes:  happy union.

It’s twelve o’clock,

it’s any minute now before the kids return from school

like hungry wolves

while I sauté the onions fast,

like all the rest of the wives in the world,

pouring fried mint leaves on the whey soup

while I abbreviate ten years of life into ten short sentences.

My brother, the wrathful God of the house,

who thinks he knows all the recourses,

never carries a key.

More obstinate than him

is the man stuck to my dress button

refusing to fall off.

* Traditionally ornamented tablecloth used in Iranian weddings, as they are spread on the floor with various decorations on top such as mirrors, candles, sweets, bread, the Koran, and flowers.

*** *** ***

Small Women, Big Men
Leila Farjami

The small women of my city

breastfeed their infants

while gazing down from the rooftops at the windy polluted freeways

where they count their neighbors’ satellite dishes;

the small women of my city

steam rice, pickle garlic,

brew aromatic tea, say greetings to the morning’s eight o’clock;

the small women of my city

are so minuscule

that one would have to detect their invisible footprints

under a laboratory magnifying lens;

the small women of my city

belong to the big men of  my country,

the big men resembling Ahmadinejaad’s neurosis at night

in their life-size mirrors,

overdosing in public restrooms,

dying every day;

the big men of my country are so big

that their celestial guide books do not fit into any alter,

their philanthropic laws can never be etched on any slate;

the big men of my country know how

to become the forefront defenders of human rights

by merely not burying their lovers alive.

Despite it all, I confess

that the big men of my country

were born of the small women of my city.

*** *** ***

Morning Prayer
Mana Aghaee

Lord,

you have elevated the mountains,

created the night from whooping coughs,

and evened out farmlandsby the grasshopper’s sneeze.

Lord, you are grand, grand!

Lord, you have the right to get angry.

Lord, you have the right to separate the account of water

from that of the desert,and to tackle

down whomever you resent.

Lord, you are the one with your verses straightening out the sheep,

while your cane instigates the sons of Israel against us.

Lord, whenever I read a book,

walk up the escalator,

or smoke due to extreme thirst,

I think of you,

Lord!

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